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Saints place Jairus Byrd (meniscus) on injured reserve

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Jairus Byrd's rough start in New Orleans just got a whole lot worse.

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Saints coach Sean Payton announced Friday that Byrd will miss the season after tearing his lateral meniscus ligament in practice Thursday. Byrd will be placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Byrd earned the most guaranteed money of any free agent during the 2014 offseason, getting $26.3 million guaranteed on a six-year, $54 million deal from the Saints. Things starting going wrong almost right away.

Byrd underwent back surgery in May, was limited for much of training camp and did not look like his usual self on the field this season. A three-time Pro Bowl selection in Buffalo, Byrd was missing tackles and giving up big plays as a member of the Saints. It did not look like he was on the same page with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and fellow safety Kenny Vaccaro. Rafael Bush, a highly paid backup that is more of a thumper than Byrd, will take over as the starter.

"It's terrible for the young man. He has worked so hard," Ryan said of Byrd.

The Saints ranked fourth in points allowed last year, but are among the league's worst teams in most defensive categories this year. They have given up 67 plays over ten yards, which is 31st in the league. Byrd's salary is guaranteed next year and his contract included a big signing bonus, so there's virtually no chance he's one and done in New Orleans.

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